Alabama: Governor Signs 2016 Budget, Avoids Medicaid Cuts

Governor Robert Bentley (R) signed a $1.7 billion 2016 budget, six months and three legislative sessions after sending his first 2016 budget to the Legislature. The budget holds steady Medicaid’s funding level despite earlier proposals to cut funding by a total of $500 million including federal matching funds; however, it does not include an additional $34 million Governor Bentley had requested for the State’s Medicaid reform efforts, a portion of which was allocated to support the implementation of Regional Care Organizations. Governor Bentley is working to secure additional funding through Medicaid overages, State hospitals, and settlement money, though the Alabama Hospital Association said additional funds “would be difficult to find.”

North Carolina: Compromise Proposed on Medicaid Reform

The State Legislature is expected to vote today on a "compromise" Medicaid reform bill that has been advanced after years of disagreement between the House and Senate on how to reform the program. Under House Bill 372, three entities would manage care for Medicaid enrollees statewide, and both managed care organizations and provider-led entities (PLEs) would be permitted to bid for these contracts. Additionally, 10 PLEs would be selected to offer coverage in six or seven newly created care regions. Enrollees would be able to choose from any of the statewide options or local PLEs. Governor Pat McCrory (R) has voiced his support for the bill. Any changes passed by the State will ultimately require federal approval.

Pennsylvania: State Announces Medicaid Coordination Initiatives

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services announced a Request for Proposals that aims to increase coordination of care in the State's Medicaid program. Pennsylvania is soliciting Medicaid managed care organization contracts with a new mandate that contract winners must increase the percentage of value- or outcome-based contracts with providers to 30%. Simultaneously, Pennsylvania announced a concept paper for Community HealthChoices, a new long-term services and support initiative in which private companies manage care for individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, the disabled, and/or those in need of long-term care services. Both initiatives are expected to improve the integration of physical and behavioral health and increase bundled payments to hospitals and for community-based services.